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Name of this short story & anthology it appears in? From around 2000.

Two men stranded on a planet find an alien storehouse of multi rooms. There seems to be a vehicle in the first room and one man works on getting it started. When the other man searches for supplies, a door closes between them, but they can still communicate by radio. The exploring man does find what they want and calls the first man - who says he got the vehicle started and it's hungry...

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  • Yes! Thank you!...My memory re-arranged a lot of the story, but this is the doughnut shaped warehouse, on top of a mountain, on an uninhabited planet. And they do have to wander the curve of the building through "wedge shaped" rooms. ...weirdly, I remember the ending as a cliff-hanger, as described above.
    – Mi-Fi
    Commented Nov 26, 2016 at 19:30

1 Answer 1

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Name of this short story & anthology it appears in? From around 2000.

The story is "Untouched by Human Hands" aka "One Man's Poison" by Robert Sheckley, available at Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive. Any of these covers look familiar? You might have read it in the 1999 anthology My Favorite Science Fiction Story edited by Martin H. Greenberg.

Two men stranded on a planet find an alien storehouse of multi rooms.

From the air, the building had merely seemed big. On the ground, it was enormous. Hellman and Casker walked up to it slowly. Hellman had his burner ready, but there was no sign of life.

"This planet must be abandoned," Hellman said almost in a whisper.

[. . . .]

The tremendous wedge-shaped room was evidently a warehouse of sorts. Goods were piled to the ceiling, scattered over the floor, stacked haphazardly against the walls. There were boxes and containers of all sizes and shapes, some big enough to hold an elephant, others the size of thimbles.

Near the door was a dusty pile of books. Immediately, Hellman bent down to examine them.

"Must be food somewhere in here," Casker said, his face lighting up for the first time in a week. He started to open the nearest box.

There seems to be a vehicle in the first room and one man works on getting it started.

"Fascinating," he murmured, after a while.

"Is it something to eat?" Casker asked, with a faint glimmering of hope.

"No, You are sitting on something called THE MOROG CUSTOM SUPER TRANSPORT FOR THE DISCRIMINATING HELGAN WHO DESIRES THE BEST IN VERTICAL TRANSPORTATION. It's a vehicle!"

"Oh," Casker said dully.

"This is important! Look at it! How does it work?"

The exploring man does find what they want and calls the first man - who says he got the vehicle started and it's hungry...

"What's wrong?" Hellman asked, finally getting to his feet and poising the burner.

"The Custom Super Transport. It's got me cornered behind a pile of cases. Hellman, it seems to think that I'm its meat!"

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